“TicketNetwork CEO Don Vaccaro’s Monday morning arrest has cost the company as much as $8 million, as the South Windsor ticket re-sale firm announced Wednesday that is withdrawing from the state’s “First Five,” program.
In a statement the company said “Due to the personal incident involving our CEO Don Vaccaro, we feel that it is necessary to respectfully withdraw from the FirstFive program in an earnest attempt at preserving our future relationship with the state.
The withdrawal from “First Five,” came one day after Vaccaro announced he was taking an indefinite leave of absence from the company, and following Gov. Dannel Malloy’s statements earlier Tuesday that the state and the company needed to re-examine their relationship.
In July, TicketNetwork, which serves as an exchange for ticket buyers and sellers, was designated to receive $8 million from the state’s “First Five,” program, in exchange for adding 200 jobs in Connecticut over the next two years. The state’s incentive package includes a $4.5 million loan at 2 percent interest with $1 million forgivable, a $1.8 million loan at 3.5 percent and a $250,000 training grant for software engineering.
“While I need to work through the legal process first, I hope to publicly discuss this issue more openly in the future,” Vaccaro said in a released statement. “I am seeking personal counseling and treatment for alcohol abuse.”
Long-time TicketNetwork executives Doug Kruse and Jeff Scheman assumed responsibility for running the company as co-CEOs.
Vaccaro, 49 of Glastonbury, was attending an Academy Awards party in Hartford on Sunday night, where police say an apparently drunken Vaccaro allegedly groped a woman and yelled racial slurs at a bouncer trying to escort him from the party.”
Where does a company start in repairing the damage their CEO has done to the company’s reputation? There previously had been an incident in October, 2009 resulting in a lawsuit claiming the CEO ” made sexual advancements … including unwanted touching of the plaintiff’s body in a sexual manner.” The woman was fired two days after she complained to the company’s “legal representatives”. What is the current culture at the company? And where do they start repairing the damage? Is it with employees, customers, vendors, media, or the state of CT? What actions does the company have to take to convince us all, especially their own employees, that they’re serious about a culture of integrity after this highly publicized event? Will he and should Vaccaro be allowed to return as CEO of the company? How much damage has he done to the company AND his own reputation and is it repairable? No company can anticipate this type of crisis inflicted by the CEO, but having a crisis team identified and in place can quickly mitigate the magnitude of the long-term damage. That’s the value in having a well thought out crisis plan.